Orson Welles’ version of War of the Worlds goes videocamera age in Cloverfield. Hand held camera movies should be banned. This said, Cloverfield is a decent enough thriller DVD. A lot of the shots here are obviously inspired from 9/11 videocamera footage and this gives Cloverfield a believable feel in a YouTube world.
A bunch of twenty-somethings are at a going away party in New York City when disastrous shit happens. The nature of this disastrous shit is to be determined. Bothers Jason and Rob, geek buddy Hud who holds the camera, Jasons’ girlfriend Lily, and Beth and Marlena go down to the street. There they meet other people who have no idea what is going on. Hud makes sure he films everything.
The problem with Cloverfield is its technical premise. You very quickly get tired of being told a story through a single hand held camera and the consequent bad lighting and filming. Director Matt Reeves uses a foray in an electronics store to get a bit of outside information into the story but it is not enough.
That you as a viewer have as little idea of what is going on as the characters in the movie is a neat and interesting twist on the disaster thriller movie. It allows Cloverfield to break a few standard movie rules. After a while though and since you know this is not real footage from a real event but just a movie you get tired of the gimmick itself.
It is hard to say how else Cloverfield could have been made technically and keep its premise so you really have to live with it. If you can, this is a decent, original thriller. Personally, I paused the DVD a few times when I got tired of the shake rattle and roll of the whole thing.